Tutorial: Find Old Photos on the Library of Congress Website

Tutorial: Find Old Photos on the Library of Congress Website

Want to find old images of your ancestors and the places where they lived? Follow our tutorial for searching the Library of Congress' huge online image collection.

The Library of Congress has a huge collection of digital images, including photos, maps, illustrations, documents and more. I wanted to find images of the area of Cincinnati called Over-the-Rhine, a historically German neighborhood where many of my relatives lived. After a search for Cincinnati history came back with too many results, I got more specific with these steps:
 

1. I typed Over the Rhine into the home page search box and selected Photos, Prints, Drawings from the dropdown menu. 
 
 
 
2. I selected images from the filter on the left to narrow my results to images.
 
 
 
3. The Historic American Buildings Survey seemed like a promising source of material, so I clicked to see those results. 
 
 
 
4. Among those results, I recognized the street names in the Pendleton Subdivision result. The description mentions eight photos. I clicked to view all eight in the grouping, and one showed my ancestor’s building as it looked in 1982. I could download a high-resolution image and zoom in to see the outline on the facade where the letters in the store’s sign used to be.
 
 
 
When you see a photo of interest, click on the thumbnail-size image for more information about it and links to download larger versions. If no download link is available, you must order a reproduction from the library or visit to see the original. Photos may be subject to copyright, so check the accompanying copyright information before publishing a downloaded image on a website, blog or book.
 
Find even more genealogy resources and records on the Library of Congress website with our Library of Congress Web Guide, available in Family Tree Shop.
 
From the March/April 2015 Family Tree Magazine

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